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Working for the United States Postal Service (USPS) (Part 1)

There are abundant opportunities for employment at more than 31,600 Postal facilities nationwide. The Postal Service has annual revenue of $69 billion and it’s responsible for delivering 47 percent of the world’s mail. There are over 617,000 employees and the Postal Service is one of the largest employers in the nation. The benefits are outstanding and on par with the Federal workforce. They include excellent pay, job security, a generous pension with a 401K, and Social Security.


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The Postal Service was created during the beginning weeks of the Revolutionary War at the meeting of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia in May 1775. To thwart the threat of British aggression against the colonies, Ben Franklin and others formed a committee. This committee determined that a postal system was needed for the conveyance of letters and other intelligence for the cause of liberty. Ben Franklin was named as the first Postmaster General and served in the position until November 1776. The postal system task was to carry letters to Congress and the armies.

Today’s Postal Service is an independent agency that funds its operation through the sale of postage, products and services. It is the only delivery service that reaches every address within the United States, which is approximately 155 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes.


The official United States Post Office by a decree of the Second Continental Congress was created on July 26, 1775. Officially, the Post Office was created in 1792 and was referred to as the Post Office Department (USPOD) based on Constitutional authority empowering Congress “To establish post offices and post roads”.

As the West expanded so did the postal system services. It provided a fast and convenient communication system. Letters provided settlers information and encouraged western migration. In addition, businesses and merchants were provided opportunities to develop commercial relationships that helped factories back east. The Postal Service assisted the Army in the control of the Western expansion and the newspapers sent by mail increased their circulation and disseminated information nationwide.

During the 19th century the postal service expanded its delivery routes via railroad, steamboat and eventually waterways where no roads existed. The volume of mail increased during the 20th century by the use of Parcel Post and Rural Free Delivery (RFD). These helped to promote more efficient postal transportation systems.

Currently, the USPS operates one the largest fleets of vehicles in the world, with an estimated 211,264 vehicles. The Department of Defense and the USPS jointly operate a postal system that delivers mail to the military known as the Army Post Office (APO). The Fleet Post Office delivers to the Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard postal facilities.

In 1971 the Post Office Department was reorganized and became the United States Post Office. It was an independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States. The mission of the Postal Service remained the same, as stated in Title 39 of the U.S. Code:

“The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities”.

Some Interesting Facts about the USPS

  • The Postal Service has the country’s largest retail network — larger than McDonald’s, Starbucks and Walmart combined, domestically.
  • Through the Carrier Alert Program, Postal Service letter carriers help monitor the well-being of elderly and disabled customers. If carriers notice an accumulation of mail that might indicate an accident or illness, they notify emergency personnel. In addition, each year postal employees go beyond the call of duty, some even risking their own safety to save the lives of the customers they serve. In 2015, the Postal Service recognized 318 employee heroes for going above and beyond.
  • The Postal Service embraces the heroic service of the United States’ armed forces. More than 113,000 veterans are employed with the organization, and more than 140 stamps have been issued that reflect the nation’s military history, including the current Medal of Honor series. (As of Jan 2015).
  • The Postal Service is the only organization in the country that has the resources, network infrastructure and logistical capability to regularly deliver to every residential and business address in the nation.
  • The Postal Service can and does compete with the private sector — and it collaborates with it, too. UPS and FedEx pay the Postal Service to deliver hundreds of millions of their ground packages to residences, taking advantage of the Postal Service’s expansive delivery network. The Postal Service pays UPS and FedEx for air transportation, taking advantage of their comprehensive air networks.
  • Mail is reliable, trusted and secure — more than 200 federal laws protect the sanctity of the U.S. Mail. These laws are enforced by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the country. U.S. Postal Inspectors are federal agents, mandated to safeguard the nation’s mail — including the people who move it and the customers who use it.
  • The U.S. Postal Service is the core of the $1.4 trillion mailing industry in this country that employs more than 7.5 million people.

Postal Careers

The U. S. Postal Service (USPS) employs over 617,000 workers in 300 job categories for positions at 31,600 post offices, branches, stations, and community post offices throughout the United States. Thousands of post office jobs are advertised each year to backfill for retirements, transfers, deaths and to replace employees who choose to leave the Postal Service. The Postal Service also hires many temporary workers (casual temporary positions) during peak mail periods. Mail carrier, clerk, and mail handlers must take and pass the 473 Postal Exam when they apply for these positions. The corporate positons do not require this exam.

Most Postal Service jobs are mail carrier and clerk positions. However, like most large corporations the Postal Service employs workers for everything from janitors to engineers; technicians, mechanics, accountants, program managers, Postal Inspectors and administrative and logistics occupations of all types.

Here are a few of the many USPS job occupations:

In our next article we will discuss job occupations that the Post Office needs to fill for the upcoming busy holiday season.


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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

About The Author

A Pennsylvania native, Betty Boyd moved to the Tennessee Valley in 1994. She retired in early 2012 after 30 years of Government service. Boyd was an Acquisition Manager/IT Manager/ Project Manager during her 30-year career. Boyd also served as a supervisor and team leader during her career. In 2012 Boyd founded a consulting firm, Boyd Consulting Services, which offers writing services to clients and companies. For more information about these writing services see the following website: http://www.BettyBoydWriting.com/. Betty attended Athens State University, Athens, AL and received a B.B.A. in Management of Technology in 2000. She received her Masters of Science degree from Syracuse University with a concentration in Information Management in 2007. Boyd is a certified Level III contracting professional and she received a Masters level certificate in Project Management from the National Defense University in 2008.